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Minnesota is rich in blogs, and alternative media such as The Uptake .  Is another blog really needed?  Good question!   My main reason for setting it up is to have a place to archive and link to various emails and posts. Continue Reading →

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Bad air–conditions unfavorable to human comfort and health prevail in Minnesota

The national weather service has issued an “excessive heat warning” until 1900 Friday.

* temperatures: highs well into the 90s this afternoon and lows
  tonight in the mid 70s.

* Dew points: mid 70s to lower 80s.

* Heat indices: 105 to 115 degrees.

* Impacts: a heightened risk of heat related illness...  
  especially for those active outdoors or for those without air 
  conditioning. 

Precautionary/preparedness actions... 

Take extra precautions... if you work or spend time outside. When
possible... reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or
evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat
stroke. Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when
possible and drink plenty of water.

To reduce risk during outdoor work... the occupational safety and
health administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks
in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by
heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke
is an emergency... call 9 1 1.

An excessive heat warning means that a prolonged period of
dangerously hot temperatures will occur. The combination of hot
temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous
situation in which heat illnesses are likely. Drink plenty of
fluids... stay in an air-conditioned room... stay out of the sun... 
and check up on relatives and neighbors.


        ******************************

In addition to this:

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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is issuing an air pollution health advisory for portions of eastern Minnesota, effective Thursday, July 21 from 11 a.m. through 9 p.m.. The affected area includes the Twin Cities Metro north and east to Cambridge, North Branch, Forest Lake and Stillwater.

[Friday is an air quality *alert* day due to forecasts of Code Orange conditions.]
Air quality is expected to deteriorate over the next two days.  Sunny skies, hot temperatures, and light winds will combine to cause an increase in ground-level ozone.  Air Quality Index (AQI) values are expected to climb into the 90s on Thursday in the advisory area, which is approaching air quality conditions considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Ozone concentrations will be the lowest in the morning hours Thursday, and will gradually rise midday through the afternoon. Air quality will improve overnight before worsening again on Friday, with additional advisories and alerts possible.

At-risk Populations: Ozone pollution is expected to be near a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Those sensitive to ozone include people with preexisting respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, the elderly, children, and individuals who participate in outdoor activities requiring extended or heavy exertion. These individuals are encouraged to postpone or reduce vigorous outdoor activity, or schedule outdoor activity in the morning, when ozone levels are lower. Even persons who are otherwise healthy may experience health effects when ozone levels increase.

Health Impacts: Elevated levels of ozone have been linked to respiratory and cardiovascular health effects. Exposure to high levels of ozone may exacerbate preexisting health conditions. High ozone levels may make it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously, cause shortness of breath and breathing discomfort, and result in coughing and a sore or scratchy throat. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician.

Pollution-reduction Tips: Ozone is produced on hot, sunny days by a chemical reaction between volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen. These pollutants are released from motor vehicles, lawn and garden equipment, paints and solvents, refueling stations, and other activities that require fuel combustion. Conserving energy; buying clean, renewable power; and utilizing alternative means of transportation, such as mass transit, will all reduce your contribution to air pollution. During air quality alerts, residents are particularly encouraged to use public transportation, car pool or reduce vehicle trips and engine idling. Postpone the use of gasoline-powered equipment and avoid burning wood.

 Visit http://www.pca.state.mn.us/aqi for information on current air quality conditions in your area. To receive daily air quality forecasts and air quality alert notifications by email or text message sign up at http://mn.enviroflash.info. You can find additional information on indoor and outdoor air quality in Minnesota at www.beairawaremn.org
Do not reply directly to this email. If you want more information on the air quality forecast, or other aspects of the local air quality program, please contact your local air quality agency using the information above. For more information on the U.S. EPA’s AIRNow Program, visit http://www.airnow.gov.

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The air quality forecast for the Twin Cities (the MPCA issues forecasts only for the Twin Cities and Rochester but conditions are often equally bad elsewhere in Minnesota) are:

Thursday:  Code Yellow

Friday: Code Orange  (I would call this Code Red as there is a Code Yellow forecast for particles in addition to the Code Orange forecast for Ozone.

Saturday:  Code Yellow.

In addition to this, Pollen.com is forecasting “medium” levels of allergens for the next few days. (https://www.pollen.com/forecast/extended/pollen/55401).

The cumulative effects of bad air quality, high temperature and humidity, and allergens have very serious health impacts.  Please take care and try to make sure that vulnerable people have access to air conditioned spaces.

The causes of bad air in Minnesota are, obviously, complex.  Simple answers are lacking.  But many of our problems are self-inflicted.   Scandalously, the “Pollution Control” Agency (1) actively campaigns to increase garbage incinerator pollutants, (2) has allowed the majority of air permits in Minnesota expire, and (3) has hired “Environmental Initiative” (an org beneath contempt) to run a campaign to prevent the EPA from designating Minnesota from being in “non-attainment” of air quality standards.  Shame, shame, and more shame.

Alan Muller

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Will GMO foods be labeled?

An important issue is playing out in the US Senate this week.  The issues is whether our foods will be labeled as to whether they contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The State of Vermont has adopted a pioneering law requiring such labeling that does into effect on July 1st.

Note that this controversy is not about the pros and cons of GMOs, but only about labeling them so people can make their own decisions about consuming them.

From a Minnesota point of view, the key point is that our two senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, are under huge pressure from big-ag and big-food interests to help kill labeling by voting for a meaningless federal bill that would override the Vermont bill. Continue Reading →

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GMOs: Transparency or Monsanto? Sen. Klobuchar selling us out?

An important issues is playing out this week in the US Senate.   Monsanto–yes, that symbol-of-evil corporation-has been fighting hard to block a Vermont law calling for labeling of GMO containing foods.  The Vermont law goes into effect on July 1, 2016.  For background, see “The Tiny State Of Vermont Is Forcing GMO Labeling Nationwide.”  Another good resource. Continue Reading →

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“Reader’s view: Devil is in details of Clean Power Plan”

On May 9, 2016 the Duluth News Tribune ran a letter I sent them a few days ago. With enviro/energy wonk orgs in Minnesota heavily penetrated by industrial interests, and the state agencies dancing to the tune of the utilities, there is real potential for the “Clean Power Plan” to do more harm than good.  We need to pay attention and think for ourselves.
The chief danger is that the CPP could be used to promote smokestack facilities burning fuels much worse than coal: “Biomass” and garbage. Continue Reading →

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“5 Questions about [Garbage Burner] Ash Mining in Red Wing”

City of Red Wing officials are screwing up yet again:

https://www.facebook.com/redwingminnesota/videos/743571695746450/

Some more background here.

Watch the video, then please sign the petition:

Demand NO ASH MINING in Red Wing ….

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/873/100/158/#sign

 

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The City of Red Wing–home of the Plume and the Black Blob?

http://content.kare11.com/photo/2016/04/26/Red%20Wing%20Barn%20Bluff%20before_after%20credit%20Photographic%20Memories_1461697731689_1939918_ver1.0.jpg

(Image Kare 11) Continue Reading →

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Pros and cons of gun ranges … letter written to the Red Wing City Council

CityCouncilJan2015

I wrote this to the City Council because I live here and nobody seemed to be mentioning the issues that I think really matter.  None acknowledged it.  None brought up any of these issues in a long and tedious meeting.  Nobody seems to be minding the store or looking out for the best interests of residents.   Worth noting is that one of the people behind the gun range proposal is Jason Sebion, recently resigned from the City Council.  The promoters want to buy a large city-owned building for $1000.  My concern, per usual, is for health and welfare issues ignored by all the council members.  None of this has anything in particular to do with how one feels about guns in general.

am

Continue Reading →

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“Lawsuits Charge that 3M Knew About the Dangers of Its Chemicals”

What it really means when Minnesota’s courts and regulatory agencies service special interests.  Another 3M scandal in which I had some involvement was the expanded burning of hazardous waste at the 3M haz waste incinerator in Cottage Grove.  In that business, the MPCA also acted as a servant of 3M rather than a protector of Minnesotans.  Of course it is generally easy for elected officials, courts, and regulators to stomp on individuals and small businesses.  The real test of integrity is how they behave when confronted with powerful special interests such as 3M, Xcel energy, or US Steel.   From what I can see the record is pretty bad, with Attorney General Lori Swanson looking better than some others.

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/11/lawsuits-charge-that-3m-knew-about-the-dangers-of-pfcs/

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Red Wing again: Incinerator ash plan and actions behind it are toxic

This letter was in the Red Wing Republican-Eagle this week.

http://www.republican-eagle.com/letters/3998238-letter-incinerator-ash-plan-and-actions-behind-it-are-toxic

Late in 2015, the idea of mining garbage incinerator ash for metals in Red Wing surfaced, and on Dec. 10 the Eagle published my letter opposing the idea. That letter can be read here. Continue Reading →

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Kushner Kronicle Kontinues

The absurd and shameful prosecution of civil liberties attorney Jordan Kushner by the City of Minneapolis continues.  Surely this is a major negative on Mayor Betsy Hodges’ record, compounding her unwise retention of City Attorney Susan Segal.

The latest episode involves the filing of pre-trial motions.  I’m posting these here: Continue Reading →

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